SAP CENTER — It started just a little over two minutes into the opening frame of Saturday night’s game, when Anaheim Ducks winger Chris Wagner shoved Andrew Desjardins into the boards behind the opposing net, which resulted in full-blown scuffle up against the glass. And it ended right at the final buzzer with a dog pile behind San Jose’s net.
It was clear from the drop of the puck that Saturday’s Sharks roster was a bit feistier and more action-packed than the lineup that hosted the Arizona Coyotes the night before. And not just because the Team Teal went 2-for-7 on the power play, outshot the Ducks 33-17 and emerged with a 3-1 victory.
“It’s preseason and we’re getting back into it,” Logan Couture said afterwards. “Obviously (Anaheim) didn’t have anything close to their best lineup. But I think as a team we did a lot of good things tonight.”
There was a healthy mix of veteran and prospect contributions during Saturday’s battle, although it was the roster hopefuls who stole the show. “With the squad as big as it is right now, a lot of (the veterans) didn’t play tonight,” head coach Todd McLellan explained. “Some them were in the lineup, some had better games. Some still have work to do in my opinion … I’m sure they want to be in the lineup and want to compete, and we want them there. They’re big parts of our team. They know they have to get better.”
As for Saturday night’s star prospects: Barclay Goodrow tallied two goals and Nikolay Goldobin pitched in as a helper on both. The line comprised of Goodrow, Goldobin and Chris Tierney stole the spotlight. Something that is to be expected at this point in the preseason, McLellan said. “We’re four games into exhibition season, and we’re at the point where we expect that of them. It’s not a surprise anymore. All three of them played well, and did things to get noticed, both offensively and defensively. And that part of the game is just as important as scoring and making nice plays.”
San Jose drew first blood on their second power play attempt of the evening. Couture went top shelf with a snap shot that cleared goalie John Gibson’s right shoulder. Jason Demers notched the assist. On the next shift, Goldobin fed the puck to Goodrow for the tap in past Gibson to increase the Sharks lead 2-0 before the premiere stanza was over.
The Sharks got an opportunity on the 5-on-3 four minutes into second frame. Just before the power play expired, Chris Tierney passed the puck back to Goodrow in the slot, and he sniped it past Gibson’s view for another power play goal to increase Team Teal’s lead 3-0.
For a team that struggled on the man advantage last season, the preseason practice on the power play over the passed two games is probably a plus. “A lot of power play tonight,” Logan Couture said with a grin. “It wasn’t as good as we had wanted it to be, but that’s what the preseason is for.”
Stalock didn’t see much action, but was keeping Anaheim’s toughest shots out of the net. His work between the pipes kept the Ducks from scoring until the third frame when winger Matt Beleskey wristed a shot past Stalock’s glove side to put the visitors on the board 3-1.
And the rest of the final frame was a mesh of pushes and shoves and a few punches here and there.
Hopefully the Sharks will keep the energy up for their next preseason tilt on Tuesday, September 30, when they host the defending Stanley Cup champion LA Kings in their first trip back to San Jose since knocking the Sharks out of the playoffs last April. Puck drop for that game is scheduled for 7:30pm.